tonight on "nightline," courtroom climax. tonight, the fate of michael jackson's doctor is in the hands of a jury. after a day of traumatic closing arguments. we'll take you inside the courtroom. >> for michael's children, this case will go on forever, because they do not have a father. strange bedfellows. he was the jilted lover in "forgetting sarah marshall." they are the beloved band of g-rated misfits. tonight, what happens when jason segel really loves the muppets. and awkward family pets. a pup in leg warmers. a poodle in brides. a pooch in foil. tonight, we examine off the wall pet owners and the animals who seem to love them. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with
terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," november 3rd, 2011. >> good eving, i'm bill weir. he was paid $150,000 a month to keep michael jackson healthy. but conrad murray could soon spent 48 months earning prison wages. after the death of the pop star, six weeks of testimony, 12 men and women are deciding murray's fate tonight. as today's tense closing arguments indicated, the stakes feel much greater than the maximum of four years murray could spend locked away. abc's jim avila was there and has the latest tonight. jim? >> reporter: bill, there was no holding back from either side today in closing argument. this was street fighter litigation, with the prosecution blasting conrad murray as incompetent, saying his mistakes and his negligence led directly to michael jackson's death. while the defense contended that, in fact, it was michael jackson and his terrible
lifestyle that killed michael jackson. >> for michael's children, this case will go on forever, because they do not have a father. >> reporter: it was the jacksons not in court that dominated the emotional opening act of the district attorney's closing argument. the prosecution searching for a sympathetic victim, turned away from michael jackson's mess of a life and instead to the nenls of children. >> they do not have a father because of the actions of conrad murray. >> reporter: the prosecutor weaving a story of a michael jackson who wanted to clean up his life and hit the concert tour so his children would see him perform and he could settle down with them. but on june 25th, 2009, a hired hand, say prosecutors, the $150,000 a month conrad murray killed jackson and his dream. >> he hit the lottery. he was going to get $150,000 a month. michael jackson trusted conrad murray he trusted him with his
life. he paid with his life. >> reporter: prosecutor david walgren blasting away at murray's negligence and mistakes. >> each and every day conrad murray violated that sacred trust, premised on that hallowed relationship between a doctor and a patient. >> reporter: and they hammered away at dr. murray's decision to delay calling 911. >> and whatten earth would motivate a medical doctor to delay making that call, other than to protect himself? other than sheer self-preservation? putting conrad murray first, putting michael jackson, his life, last. >> i think everyone agrees, dr. murray messed up. but the question ultimately will come down to, are these jurors
ready to hold him criminally responsible, causing michael jackson's death? >> reporter: for the defense, lead attorney ed chernoff went right at that question, telling jurors, yes, conrad murray was negligent but it was not him that killed the drug-addicted michael jackson. >> he got brought into this situation because he thought he could help. he could help him sleep normally. he was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond. >> reporter: and chernoff told jurors conrad murray is being held responsible for what michael jackson did to himself. that may belong in front of a medical review board, but not in criminal court. >> if it were anybody else but michael jackson, anybody else, would this doctor be here today? if you're going to hold dr. murray responsible, don't do it because it's michael jackson. >> reporter: but prosecutors were not through. and used biting sarcasm so drive
home their final point. one man is responsible for michael jackson's death and it is not the man who died that day. >> poor conrad murray. michael jackson is dead. and we have to hear about poor conrad murray. >> reporter: and with that, after six weeks, 49 witnesses, more than 330 exhibits, the jury was given the case. >> in a high profile case like this, jurors tend to take a little longer. they want to be seen as the o.j. simpson jury that came in after four hours. >> reporter: deliberations begin tomorrow morning. the fate of the doctor caught in the whirlwind that was michael jackson hangs in the balance. one of many who fed an icon what he craved. but when the medical musical chairs stopped, conrad murray was left without a seat. jim avila for "nightline" in los angeles. >> and the second that jury
returns with the verdict, we'll have it at abcnews.com. thanks to jim avila. and just ahead, who do you call when the municipal pelts' franchise needs reviving? how about the naked guy from "forgetting sarah marshall"? could it possibly work? stay tuned. [ male announcer ] at&t and verizon charge you extra for going over 2 gigabytes of data. t-mobile slows down your data speed. with sprint you don't get charged extra and you don't slow down. and you get unlimited data, text and calling to any mobile -- for only $79.99. the best unlimited plan...wins. make the most of unlimited data with a brilliant screen on a pencil thin phone. introducing the samsung galaxy s ii epic 4g touch. trouble hearing on the phone? visit sprintrelay.com.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> if you remembered the muppet show then you probably remember the delightfully subversive humor that came from the likes of alice cooper or peter sellers when they shared the stage with america's moth beloved bits of felt. so, it's kind of brilliant to revive the franchise, they picked a guy most known for his lovable ran ch. jason segel. and as chris connelly reports, he gets pig on frog romance better than anyone else in hollywood. >> reporter: familiar faces singing, cracking jokes. >> i'm ready for my closeup. >> reporter: and always deeply felt. >> i believe in you. and you. >> reporter: the muppets are back from a decade-long hiatus in, well, "the muppets," where the gang reunites for a show.
>> you guys aren't popular anymore. >> reporter: miss piggy becomes the plus size editor of "french vogue." >> there's only one miss piggy and she is moi. >> reporter: and fozzie bear running a faux mup penalties tribute show in vegas. >> what are you doing here? >> reporter: bringing back kermit, animal and the rest of the characters is an unlikely savior. >> are there muppets in this movie? >> reporter: a star from a most unmuppet-y genre. the r-rated comedy. >> are you breaking up with me? >> reporter: 31-year-old jason segel, who bared it all in "forgetting sarah marshall" is the writer and actor who has been entrusted with relaunched possibly the most beloved family franchise of the last 50 years. what's your favorite thing that jason has done? >> the new stuff. yeah. yeah. i love that. >> kermit is always doing full frontal. never seen the guy wearing pants. >> reporter: well, he does have a trench coat.
>> that's right. which is even scarier. >> reporter: but it was a life long love of all things muppets that got segel the gig. did anyone ever say, who do think you are? >> i think that first there was a fear that i was going to do it with a sense of irony. but i think very quickly they saw that i truly loved them in a very pure way. >> reporter: first created by jim henson in 1955, the muppets set an impeccable standard for clever, gently subversive family comedy. teaching letters, numbers and values on "sesame street." putting on manic performances for tv's "the muppet show." starring in six pun-filled family features. starting with "the muppet movie." back in the '80s, mup penalties even turned up on the occasional
news program. >> hello, ted. >> hi, miss piggy. >> i've been watching out there waiting for kermie. >> reporter: you look no different. >> oh, thank you. >> off to a great start, chris. >> reporter: you have had any work done or anything like that? >> i'm sorry? >> i take that back about the great start. >> reporter: it's the longest running story in mu veechs. when even amid the pressure of a $50 million film, romance blooms between its two charismatic leads. what is the current status of your relationship. >> with who? >> reporter: you two. >> yes, of course. well, i'll let -- piggy will be happy to tell you, i'm sure. >> there's no one who comes between us. >> well, chris is sort of between us now. >> reporter: yet until this year, it was like a plot out of one of their films. the case of the missing muppet. with no new tv special or
feature-length film since 1999. the less than successful "muppets in space." even the an arctic internet tried to fill the void, with mow men tear muppet videos, with sad kermit. ♪ i hurt myself today". >> reporter: to evil bert. >> eve beryt. >> i wanted to bring them back. they defined what i wanted to be as a comedian. >> reporter: how many times have you watched -- >> i watch it when i go to sleep a lot. i feel like i'm painting myself as the strangest guy of all time. >> reporter: it was segel who ensured that sarah marshall ended with a lavish muppet musical. ♪ sorry for all the wrong i've done ♪ ♪ i finished trying >> reporter: and those characters live on in the house he bought from jim henson's daughter lisa. >> this is a small portion of my puppet collection.
i have -- we have here, the puppets from "forgetting sarah marshall." dracula, my angel. >> reporter: along with a screening room's worth of puppets and things he's collected over the years. >> that is a jason segel muppet. and this is the first puppet i've ever known. >> reporter: even amy adams say if you put this stuff around your house -- >> that i'd be single for the rest of my life. i'm lucky because now it's my job. so it makes sense. but for awhile, i was the unemployed 6'4" weirdo who just had muppets everywhere. >> reporter: when the script was done, this fan got to hear and see his words spoken allowed aloud by the characters they love. >> they brought kermit out of his box and he said the first line i had written for him and i started crying. they had to stop for a couple of minutes while a 28-year-old at
the time grown man tried not to cry. >> reporter: jason was telling us he got a little emotional when he read with you for the first time. >> was it that bad? >> no, quite the opposite. my dream come true. it really was. i was one of the coolest moments of my life. >> we love our fans. it's what the mup penalties have survived on for a long, long time. >> reporter: due for release on november 23rd, the muppets hope to bring to a new generation the "let's put on a show" spirit that's always made them great. >> great to see all your faces again. >> all of the jokes are good natured and pure and kind. i like to think that part of what's so magical about the muppets is that they remind us of the best version of ourselves. >> reporter: i'm chris connelly for "nightline" in los angeles. >> as chris mentioned, the movie is out on the 23rd and we should mention the muppets work for our parent company, disney, so, see it twice. coming up next, people who
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> all dogs from poodle to pug descend from the wolf. so, thousands of years ago, one of these majestic creatures chose a caveman's fire over the call of the wild, never dreaming this decision would lead to a distant ancestor appearing on facebook dressed as a cocktail wnie. for abc's dan harris, awkward family pet foe taupes are a "sign of the times." >> reporter: we all love our pets but some of us love them so much that we take pictures of them in leg warmers or braids or a tinfoil costume or in this
utterly inexplicable position. >> kind of says it all. you see how much this guy loves his dog and you see how confused the dog is by what's going on, how it's being held. it's just -- it says it all. >> reporter: these two guys, mike bender and doug chernack have become known for animal absurdity. from a man posing with his raccoon to a boy with his pooch to the lock of abject horror in the eyes of this cat in the clutches of a giant easter bunny. bender and chernack just released a book called "awkward family photos." are you sure this is for real? we sat down to look at their favorite shot. >> they love their cats, they love space and you combine all those things, that's what makes this photo so awkward is that, you know -- >> when people are not aware of it, that's when it's really authentic awkwardness.
>> reporter: in some ways, this is the coup de grace of the book. >> yes. there's so many elementses the eyes are closed, shirt is off. it looks like someone could be pregnant. it has a lot going on for it and i think the black and white, that's why the photo is called pet noir. >> reporter: mystery. usually with mysteries i want to know what's going on. in this case, i don't want to know. this whole obsession with awkward photos started two years ago and at first it was strictly human. the moment of inspiration came when mike was visiting his parents and saw his mom hanging this picture on the wall. i've seen that picture. it's a little awkward. >> a lot awkward. >> reporter: he told his childhood friend doug about it. they decided to start a website called awkward family photos. pretty soon they noticed the pictures that got the biggest response had animals in them. so, they started a spin-off. you saw the awkwardness is
always on the human. >> almost always. >> reporter: so this picture -- i would argue it's not the kid who is being awkward. it's the foreign kay or thes in the background. >> you would be correct. our docks do not have as much discretion when it comes to sexual activities and going to the bathroom. that's like an engagement photo. >> that's the best part of that one. >> reporter: they point out that they are not mocking the people in their book, it's more like they are celebrating them. >> you do walk a line between laughing at and laughing with. >> start with our photos, so, we're just as awkward as everybody else. we're not really latching at anybody. we're trying to say, we're all awkward. >> reporter: i think there are some people you're laughing at. let's just be fair. this guy? you're laughing at this guy. >> this guy, we are just wondering what's going on. >> reporter: i decided to take the opportunity to audition some of my own home shots. so here is one.
>> that one -- >> interesting. >> composition wise, very interesting. >> reporter: i wou >> like to see more of your face. that's a start. >> we can work with this. >> reporter: this is when i just came home from a live shot on "good morning america." >> okay. that's better. we're heading in the right direction. >> getting somewhere now. yeah. i mean, there's a lot going on, the cat between your legs -- >> the lighting is nice. >> reporter: but the competition really is fierce. it's hard to top a cat in a santa hat. a goat in the living room. or a monkey in a prairie dress. mike and doug really have tapped into something universal here. our love for our penalties, sometimes s impairs our judgme. luckily, though, when we go overboard, our pelts don't judge us for it. for "nightline," this is dan harris in new york. >> the book is on shelves now. dan harris is cuddling with his cat.